Warren Bennis, American scholar and pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership Studies wrote: Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. GAI’s vision is for more leaders amidst our hundreds of specialized and dedicated engineers and scientists. The reality is GAI University.
When Dr. Diane Landers, Vice President/CMO and a GAI Board member took stock of GAI’s need for leadership in 2005, she said, “We have a lot of engineers but need more leaders...and I believe the potential for leadership is here within our staff.” Dave Mollish, former GAI Assistant Vice President and CHRO agreed. “We rely on our technical expertise,” he said, “but leadership is also crucial to our success.” Together, they began forming a corporate-wide Leadership Program under the flag of GAI University.
The GAI University Leadership Program offers a progressive series of eight courses geared toward corporate growth and values:
1) High Performance Management
2) Leadership and Management Skills
3) Advanced Project Management
4) Risk Management
5) Leaders to Watch
6) Dale Carnegie Customer Client Interface Course
7) One-Year Harvard Business School Program (on-line)
8) Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA), Point Park University
In 2009, GAI developed a capstone to the GAI University when they partnered with Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh to offer a 2-year MBA program to the top graduates of the GAI Leadership Program (GAI is paying a portion of each student’s tuition). GAI and Point Park University tailored the MBA program curriculum to address GAI’s particular business requirements. Techniques and topics in finance, accounting, and international business are offered among the 10 required MBA courses taught in four-hour evening classes held once a week. Professors come into GAI's Pittsburgh Office and their lectures are broadcast via Web teleconferencing to classmates in GAI's Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast offices. Busy students can tune into the WebEx program from home or a hotel, when homebound or traveling.
By May 2013, GAI will have graduated 27 executives and top-level managers in the last four years. GAI MBA graduates include Dr. Landers, one of the Program founders, who “returned to school” to get her MBA. Also included are CAO Karl Palvisak, COO Anthony Morrocco, and President and CEO Gary DeJidas, who said in an interview with CE News, “I see the positive impact the Leadership Program has made on our employees, our corporate culture and, ultimately, our bottom line.” Assistant Vice President Ben Resnick, a current MBA student, adds, “The MBA provides a broader understanding of business and management practices than my M.A. studies, including valuable exposure to the most current methods of accounting, marketing, business, finance, legal issues, economics, advertising, and planning.”
Indeed, GAI’s Leadership Program enables young engineers and scientists to become acquainted with the work processes and management techniques of business. As they become more business savvy, GAI University prepares our engineers to become better managers and supervisors, evident in that 94% of our Program alumni received promotions after their graduation. Senior Engineering Manager and current student John Nicholson said, “…the MBA program has provided me great insight into the business side of corporate operations, helping me appreciate the complex decision-making that GAI’s executive management undertakes to keep us prosperous.”
The MBA diploma is the final accomplishment in GAI’s formal leadership development program, and it sets GAI apart from many firms in the United States.”
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. Bill Gates
Diane B. Landers
2012 A Leadership Development Program that Thrives, Training Magazine, Lakewood Media Group, LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Electronic access, July 2012: www.trainingmag.com/content/leadership-development-program-thrives.
Mollish, David A. and Diane B. Landers
2012 12 Steps to Leadership Success, CE News, Beyond Words, March 2012, Stagnito Media, Deerfield, Illinois. www.cenews.com/magazine-article-cenews.com-3-2012-12_steps_to_leadership_success-8750.html